Sherry Carney inspired by cancer

Published 5:00 pm Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sherry Carney and her brother in law, Chaplain Capt. Michael McCawley, with a flag Carney received in appreciation of her support for troops. (photo submitted by Deb Williamson)

When people gathered in January 2012 at Sunny View Elementary Sherry Blevins Carney was unable to attend.
Carney’s brother-in-law, Chaplain Capt. Michael McCawley, the husband of her sister, Sara, told the crowd about Carney’s fight against cancer and declining health. He emphasized how tirelessly she had worked through the Singing for Soldiers program and other efforts to help troops stationed in remote parts of Afghanistan and elsewhere. McCawley, who was visiting Polk County from Ft. Knox, Ky., where he works with the Wounded Warriors program, thanked donors and told them how much the supplies they sent meant to the troops.
Carney was diagnosed with multi-myeloma in early 2005, a few days before her son, Chris, was to graduate from high school. Never one to miss anything, Carney was at Chris’ graduation only days after undergoing major surgery to repair the first of many breaks in her failing body caused by the terminal cancer.
Carney’s family said her cancer did not define her: “It only propelled this already loving and giving woman into a fast-forward flurry of helping others, a passion she already possessed.”
Carney spent the last six years of her short life living her passion to the fullest by giving to active duty military personnel.
It all started in the fall of 2006, shortly after McCawley was deployed for 15 months to Iraq. McCawley was part of the 97th Military Police Battalion out of Fort Riley, Kan. when he asked Carney if she would help bring a little bit of home to his solders. McCawley provided the ideas, the communications link and the conduit for the shipments to the soldiers from Carney and her friends. The first shipment went out in 2006 in the form of more than 100 Christmas gift boxes for the soldiers.